December Consumer Confidence Index Lowest in 68 Months

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha visits a durian market in Yala province on Aug. 7, 2019.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — A Thai academic institution released a report indicating that Thailand’s consumer confidence index was at 68.3 in December, the lowest level in 68 months from May 2014.

Thai consumers were concerned about the economic slowdown and the index fell from 69.1 in November because consumers felt that the economic recovery remained slow despite some improvements in the employment sector and prices of farm products have increased slightly, said Thanavath Phonvichai, vice president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

Thanavath also said that the on-going drought and the increasing oil price also affected consumers’ confidence.

The drought was the severest in a century in some areas and without off-season rice cultivation, farmers’ income would drop by 7 to 10 billion baht, Thanavath said.

The UTCC academic vice president, however, said that he believes the Thai economy could pick up in the second half of this year because the government spending from the 2020 budget should enter the economic system in June.

He also said that in the second half of the year, the Thai government will be launching an auction for 5G communication frequencies, which would lead to investments.

Meanwhile, consumer spending would slow down until the middle of the second quarter this year, Thanvath said.